As a sociologist of religion specializing in American Catholicism, my overarching scholarly agenda sits at the nexus of organizations and social change.
My latest solo-authored book, Parish & Place: Organizing Diversity in Contemporary American Catholicism (Oxford 2017), looks at “personal parishes” as an organizational response to increasing ethnic, liturgical, and ideological diversity among American Catholics. Defined by purpose rather than geography, personal parishes act as named, specialist organizations alongside the more ubiquitous territorial parish (as generalist organization). This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, The Louisville Institute, and Lilly-endowed program for “Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations.”
My first solo-authored book, Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful is Changing the Church (Oxford 2011/2014), explored the challenge and consequence of advocating for change from within a shared religious institution. It examines a lay Catholic movement (Voice of the Faithful) that emerged in the wake of child sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church.
A volume I coedited with Mary Ellen Konieczny and Charles Camosy – Polarization in the US Catholic Church (Liturgical 2016) – addresses the question of religion and conflict in public discourse from multiple disciplinary and applied angles.
Another edited volume I completed with Gary Adler and Brian Starks, entitled American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism, is forthcoming in Spring 2019 with Fordham University Press. This book is one product of a multi-year initiative called The American Parish Project (TAPP), aimed at revitalizing the social scientific study of Catholic parishes. A summer 2015 TAPP seminar convened a small group of scholars selected from a competitive application process to critically engage a sociology of the parish. The network of TAPP scholars continues to expand via annual gatherings at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. TAPP has been generously supported by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California and the Louisville Institute. Read more about this groundbreaking initiative here.
I am currently working on a book manuscript examining “church conversions” – i.e., spaces that transition from religious purposes into non-religious purposes. This research is supported by generous grants from the Louisville Institute and Appalachian College Association.
Other forthcoming works include a co-authored book with collaborators Jerry Park and Stephen Cherry on Asian American Catholics. This work extends a national study I was commissioned to lead for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which informed their 2018 pastoral letter, Encountering Christ in Harmony. Reports from that study can be found here and here.
Some of my other chapters/articles/reports include:
- an edited forum on “Studying Parishes in Studies of American Catholicism” in American Catholic Studies 129 (1): 1-26, with contributions from James Cavendish, Mary Ellen Konieczny, and Carol Ann MacGregor (2018)
- a chapter in Volume 9 (2018) of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion entitled “Cultural Catholics in the United States” (2018)
- an article in Liturgy entitled “A Pope, a People, and a Parish: How Changing Demographics Are Changing Catholic Communities” (2018)
- a chapter in Spiritualizing the City: Agency and Resilience of the Urban and Urbanesque Habitat (edited by Victoria Hegner and Peter Jan Margry, 2016).
- a chapter coauthored with Josh Packard on “organizational innovation” in the Handbook of Religion and Society, edited by David Yamane (Springer 2016). Access the chapter here.
- a comprehensive, annotated bibliography of the sociology of Catholicism for Oxford Bibliographies.
- an ethnographic exploration of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Catholic Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Services American Behavioral Scientist (2006), vol 49, no. 11. Read the complete article here.
- a national study on American Catholics and marriage I coauthored while a Research Assistant Professor with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.